LondonNet News Headlines
20/03/01
Police Issue Safety Warning Over Concert Crowds
- London parks constabulary say staff shortages could put fans at risk

SUMMER is traditionally the season when music festivals get underway, many of which take place in London's parks. But police are worried that fans could be seriously at risk through lack of security.

The Royal Parks Constabulary, who are responsible for policing 8000 acres of London's Royal Parks, have expressed fears that they won't be able to cope with the situation during big events, due to staff shortages. The RPC have been told that they must cancel rest days and work longer hours during the summer when huge concerts by Tom Jones, Sting and Status Quo are being held.

"Staff are sometimes working 16 hour shifts and will be extremely tired," said PC Sherrington, representative for the Public and Commercial Services Union. "What happens if something goes wrong at one of the pop events during the Summer? No one has answered that question."

Low morale, poor pay and long hours have been blamed for the RPC's inability to retain staff. "Something needs to be done, we are losing two more officers next week and there are many more applications to join other better paid forces," said PC Sherrington, adding that park officers were paid less than 65 per cent of the wage earned by those in the Met.

Crowd safety at festivals has been a potent issue since last year's Roskilde disaster in Denmark where nine people died during a set by rock band Pearl Jam. Glastonbury Festival organiser Michael Eavis was forced to cancel this year's events due to fears over crowd control.




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